Characteristics of the Antebellum South 1.Primarily agrarian. 2.Economic power shifted from the “upper South” to the “lower South.” 3.“Cotton Is King!” * 1860 5 mil. bales a yr. (57% of total US exports). 4.Very slow development of industrialization. 5.Rudimentary financial system. 6.Inadequate transportation system.
Southern Society (1850) “Slavocracy” [plantation owners] The “Plain Folk” [white yeoman farmers] 6,000,000 Black Freemen Black Slaves 3,200,000 250,000 Total US Population 23,000,000 [9,250,000 in the South = 40%]
Objective: To examine the slave codes that existed in the antebellum South. Cotton Field, Oklahoma
Slavery in America Returning From The Field The photo captures the physical and mental fatigue of a woman as she returns from a day's work in the field picking cotton. Her dress is as worn as her face, and though she is weary she is determined. Notice the woman's fatigue, the character of her face, her strong hands, the sturdy but much used shoe, and the beaten path she trods. Most slaves worked as field hands on cotton plantations.
Slaves were responsible for clearing land and planting and harvesting crops. An African- American woman is shown here balancing a basket of cotton on her head on a farm in Augusta, Georgia. (1870)
This is a young African American child working in a cotton field. Although this photograph was taken after the end of slavery (1885) the plight of African Americans improved very little in the American South.
Some slaves became skilled workers, such as carpenters or blacksmiths. The blacksmith was considered a skilled craftsman and therefore more valuable as a slave than field hands, which included women and young children.
Life Under Slavery 1.Living Conditions – Lived in small poorly built cabins – Leaky roofs, dirt floors, just opening for doors and windows – Given little food or clothing
2.Punishment and Slave Codes – Slaves were sometimes severely punished – Sometimes whipped, beaten, or burned – “Slave Codes” were laws that controlled slaves actions – Could not travel far from home – Not allowed to be educated (no reading or writing)
Whip lash marks on the back of a slave in the late nineteenth century.
Slave Culture 1.Family and Community – Family was the most important part of the slave community – Slaves often feared about being separated from their families
– Slaves would pass down stories and customs – They used folk tales to teach lessons on how to survive slavery 2.Religion – By the early 1800s many slaves were Christians – They sang Spirituals about being saved from slavery – Slaves blended some parts of Christianity with traditional African beliefs – Worshiped in secret
The Ledger of John White J Matilda Selby, 9, $400.00 sold to Mr. Covington, St. Louis, $425.00 J Brooks Selby, 19, $750.00 Left at Home – Crazy J Fred McAfee, 22, $800.00 Sold to Pepidal, Donaldsonville, $1200.00 J Howard Barnett, 25, $750.00 Ranaway. Sold out of jail, $540.00 J Harriett Barnett, 17, $550.00 Sold to Davenport and Jones, Lafourche, $900.00
Southern Slavery--> An Aberration? J 1780s: 1 st antislavery society created in Phila. J By 1804: slavery eliminated from last northern state. J 1807: the legal termination of the slave trade, enforced by the Royal Navy. J 1820s: newly indep. Republics of Central & So. America declared their slaves free. J 1833: slavery abolished throughout the British Empire. J 1844: slavery abolished in the Fr. colonies. J 1861: the serfs of Russia were emancipated.
Slavery Was Less Efficient in the U. S. than Elsewhere J High cost of keeping slaves from escaping. J GOAL raise the “exit cost.” u Slave patrols. u Southern Black Codes. u Cut off a toe or a foot.